Parliamentary questions
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1 December 2017
Question for oral answer O-000095/2017
to the Commission
Rule 128
Rebecca Harms, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

 Subject: Ruthenium-106

Between September and October 2017, several Member States set about measuring the presence of Ruthenium-106 in the atmosphere. Until now, the exact source of the emission has not been officially confirmed, yet several research institutes assume that the most plausible zone of release is located in the south Ural Mountains. The French Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN) assumes that the release must have been considerable and that evacuation of the local inhabitants would have been necessary had a similar release happened in France.

Despite the obligation to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the occurrence of a nuclear accident under the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, no country has as yet done so.

At the same time, neither the IAEA nor Euratom have taken any public action so far.

The presumed source of the emissions is close to Chelyabinsk Oblast, where the Mayak nuclear complex is overseen by Rosatom. Yet Rosatom insists that no nuclear incident occurred in any of its installations. The lack of information and transparency of the Russian nuclear company is especially problematic, given that it is selling nuclear power plants in Europe and is trying to expand further into the European market.

1. What is the Commission doing to obtain information on the cause, scale and exact location of the accident, as well as on any measures which have been taken to prevent any further release?

2. On 30 November 2017, Rosatom announced that an independent commission comprising representatives from Russian and European scientific organisations would be set up to investigate the origin of the Ruthenium release. Will Commission experts be linked with or part of this commission, and will they visit the site of the accident and the contaminated areas?

3. How will the Commission ensure that Rosatom will guarantee the necessary transparency in its nuclear operations within the EU?

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